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De 13:1-5. ENTICERS TO IDOLATRY TO BE PUT TO DEATH.
1. If there arise among you a prophet--The special counsels which
follow arose out of the general precept contained in
and the purport of them is, that every attempt to seduce others from
the course of duty which that divine standard of faith and worship
prescribes must not only be strenuously resisted, but the seducer
punished by the law of the land. This is exemplified in three cases of
enticement to idolatry.
De 13:6-18. WITHOUT REGARD TO NEARNESS OF RELATION.
6. If thy brother . . . entice thee secretly--This term being applied very loosely in all Eastern countries (Ge 20:13), other expressions are added to intimate that no degree of kindred, however intimate, should be allowed to screen an enticer to idolatry, to conceal his crime, or protect his person. Piety and duty must overcome affection or compassion, and an accusation must be lodged before a magistrate.
9. thou shalt surely kill him--not hastily, or in a private manner, but after trial and conviction; and his relative, as informer, was to cast the first stone (see on De 17:2; Ac 7:58). It is manifest that what was done in secret could not be legally proved by a single informer; and hence Jewish writers say that spies were set in some private part of the house, to hear the conversation and watch the conduct of a person suspected of idolatrous tendencies.
14. Then shalt thou inquire--that is, the magistrate, to whom it officially belonged to make the necessary investigation. In the event of the report proving true, the most summary proceedings were to be commenced against the apostate inhabitants. The law in this chapter has been represented as stern and sanguinary, but it was in accordance with the national constitution of Israel. God being their King, idolatry was treason, and a city turned to idols put itself into a state, and incurred the punishment, of rebellion.
17. there shall cleave naught of the cursed thing to thine hand--No spoil shall be taken from a city thus solemnly devoted to destruction. Every living creature must be put to the sword--everything belonging to it reduced to ashes--that nothing but its infamy may remain.